Eric McFarland

Chemical Engineering


3331 Engineering Science Building II

University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5080

IEE Research Areas: 


Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials, Member


2013-2015 Dow Chemical Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland
1990-1995 NSF Presidential Young Investigator
1992 American Nuclear Society Special Award for Outstanding Advances in Nuclear Technology
1989-1991 Edgerton Assistant Professorship
1981-1982 NIH Graduate Fellowship
1980-1981 University of California Regent's Fellowship
1980 Graduated Summa Cum Laude
1980 Nuclear Engineering Department Citation for First in Department
1980 Graduated Summa Cum Laude
1980 Elected Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Top 5%)
1979 Stephen Bechtel Scholarship for Top Engineering Junior

Research Description: 

McFarland’s research activities are focused on coupling fundamental processes at surfaces with novel material systems to enable economically and environmentally sustainable production of chemicals and power in real industrial processes. In particular, his group is working on use of new catalysts and materials for decarbonizing fossil fuels and producing chemicals without carbon dioxide. His group is also investigating novel nuclear reactor designs to reduce cost and increase safety and allow the opportunity for coupling chemical production with power production. McFarland teams with colleagues using state-of-the-art theoretical methods to guide and interpret experimental work using advanced theory and to develop conceptual process models to evaluate the technoeconomic potential of new processes making use of the chemistry.


BS: Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley (1980)
MS: Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley (1982)
PhD: Nuclear Engineering, MIT (1987)
MD: Harvard Medical School (1988)


Eric McFarland studied Nuclear Engineering and received B.S. and M.S. degrees from U.C. Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from MIT. He also studied medicine and received his M.D. from Harvard and completed post-graduate training in general surgery. McFarland joined the Nuclear Engineering faculty at MIT where his research moved from nuclear science to use of nuclear phenomena for non-destructive materials and measurement of chemical reaction kinetics and chemical analysis. In 1991 he moved to the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department. McFarland has always worked closely with industry on problems related to energy and chemical production and he has held management positions in several companies related to his University research. During several leaves of absence, he has given service to industry including as a director of Symyx Technologies and as CEO of Gas Reaction Technologies. McFarland recently returned to UCSB from a two-year position as the founding Director of the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation and Dow Chemical Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland, Australia.